TANZANIA is now earning more foreign exchange from diaspora remittances in comparison to some of its major exports including traditional exports and cereals.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan revealed on Wednesday that the contribution of Tanzanian diaspora in terms of remittances and investments amounted to 2.5tri/- last year.
According to statistics from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), the total value for traditional exports exceeded 758.4 million US dollars (about 1.7tri/-) and cereals amounted to over 244.7 million US dollars (about 562.8bn/-) in the year ending March 2023.
Among such traditional exports are goods including coffee, cashewnuts, tobacco and tea.
Through the Twitter handle which was accompanied by a photo combo, President Samia noted that after taking part at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit (EO-OTS) in Windhoek, Namibia, she got a chance to speak with a section of Tanzania diaspora and their families who live in the country.
“Like other Tanzanians who live in the various areas globally, our relatives from Namibia have been contributing highly to the country through investment in the various sectors and a remittance that now stands at over 2.5tri/- sent to their family members and relatives,” said Dr Samia.
Recently, Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Dr Stergomena Tax revealed that the contribution of the Diaspora has continued to steadily increase, citing data from the Central Bank of Tanzania (BoT), which shows that remittance accounted for 400 million US dollars about 937bn/- (2020) to 569.3 million US dollars about 1.3tri/- (2022).
Likewise, the diaspora invested 3.9bn/- in UTT mutual funds and bought houses worth 2.3bn/- in the country, indicating that the ministry has continued to encourage the group in foreign countries to register themselves.
Last month during the question-and-answer Parliament session, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Mbarouk Nassor told the August House that Tanzanians living abroad have injected a total of 4.4bn/- in the real estate sector and invested 2.5bn/- through acquisition of shares from different companies.
“The diaspora has had a major contribution through foreign currency (remittance), expertise and technology that can promote the production of various products and services in the country,” noted the Deputy Minister.
The deputy minister was responding to a question asked by Mikumi Legislator Dennis Londo (CCM), who wanted to know the total number of Tanzanians living abroad and their contribution to the country’s development.
Ambassador Mbarouk said a total of 1.5 million Tanzanians were living abroad, noting that the government is completing the Diaspora Digital Hub, which will simplify their enrollment.
“This hub will be completed in June 2023 and will also facilitate the continuous collection of diaspora statistics,” he added.
To further boost diaspora contribution, the country’s socio-economic development, Director of Government Communication Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Ambassador Mindi Kasiga during the ministry’s monthly briefings revealed that the government was developing a diaspora database.
The initiative is also geared towards assisting the government in identifying and assessing the competencies, expertise and experience of members of the diaspora.
“To encourage their participation, we are creating a diaspora database with information on where they live, their skills and resources,” she said.
She added: “The database will also help the government to identify potential candidates from the diaspora who meet the requirements for open positions at the United Nations and other international organisations outside Tanzania.”
With the information, she says the government can more effectively interact with and engage talented people of working age who want to return to their own country in order to support its growth and development.
According to her, all embassies had been urging Tanzanian citizens who were living in those countries to register themselves and that there had been a positive response, with many wanting to register and be recognised as well.